Freedom Beyond Liberalism

Freedom Beyond Liberalism
AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris

Following the @realDonaldTrump and Parler bans, Big Tech busters calling for Section 230’s repeal were met with a familiar libertarian reply, one that illuminates not just the right’s fracture over the First Amendment but a larger, quintessentially Western contention over the meaning of freedom itself.

Corporate-friendly Republicans argued that the coercion required to enforce those rights would amount to a permanent commissariat at the governing party’s fingertips, launching us down a speech-chilling slippery slope sure to end badly for conservatives. Beneath this shoe-on-the-other-foot retort lies a minimalist notion of freedom as a thing for the market to organically bring about, out of the state’s reach to effectuate. Technocratic faith in this axiom turned into pedantic smugness when the libertarian blog TechDirt launched a Twitter archive of “bad Section 230 takes,” dismissing conservatives’ every rationale for digital antitrust as irredeemably conducive to authoritarianism.

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